Why We Suffer

I believe we go through hard times in life because it makes us better people.

It doesn’t have to.  Hardships can make us resentful, angry, mistrustful, or traumatized.  Many people turn out that way.

But painful experiences also make us pay attention.  And learn.  Failures and setbacks are better teachers than success.  Suffering helps us to learn what it’s like to suffer.  As great as our imagination is, sometimes it still doesn’t compare to real life experience.  Our own suffering better equip us to relate to, stand by and provide more effective help to others who are suffering.  I make mistakes so that I remain humbled and capable of forgiving others who also make mistakes.

The difference between the two different outcomes lies in one simple understanding: acceptance.

If you think you should not have to suffer then you’ll emerge with all the hardened emotions of the former.

If you accept and embrace your hardship, even as you process the uncomfortable feelings, then you’ll find yourself on the latter path.  Stop thinking of how to avoid, shorten, numb and distract away from the experience.  That’s the path to create more of those difficult times.  By paying attention to the pain without resisting, you are building your emotional muscle.  And the same kind of events will not upset you as much next time.  You’ll emerge stronger and wiser, better equipped to help others in the same trenches, while you yourself feel less vulnerable.

I once cursed God for making me go through the experience of living with a severely depressed person.  (As an empath who can feel others’ feelings as my own, it was an excruciating era.)  Years later I can’t help but be grateful for it, because it set me down the path of learning, and I have had countless occasions where that experience helped me help others around me.  Oh, I was not so enlightened to embrace that experience when it happened.  It took many, many years of resenting and numbing and distracting from the pain I took on.  But life gave me events that brought out small pieces of that big baggage, and little by little I processed all the feelings.

Confidence builds from the experience of going through and overcoming challenges.  If all you did was plotting your escape, then confidence will not come.

It’s very simple, but it makes a world of difference.  I’m still learning and discovering places where I’m avoiding and running away.  I really wished somebody told me this earlier in life.

So I’m sharing it with you now.  Let me know if and how this concept applies in your life.